According to People’s Gas, natural gas is the primary resource that 66 million of us Americans use to heat our homes.
The amount we use adds up to 168 cubic feet of natural gas every single day, or about 27.3 trillion cubic feet of the stuff every year (says americangeosciences.org).
Estimates taken by the US Energy Information Administration in 2016 put available natural gas reserves at 2462 trillion cubic feet. Researchers at American Geosciences say that leaves enough nat-gas to last the United States about 86 years.
I dunno about you, but when I’m old and gray, I’d love it if my children (who might be crazy enough to have their own children by then), could survive extreme cold temperatures by heating their homes a wee bit.
There’s a lot of talk about exploration for more natural gas—digging deep into the earth to see whether, and where, more gas reserves might lurk. While nat-gas is alleged to be relatively clean, as far as fossil fuel-burning goes, more reserves aren’t proven to exist.
And given that finding out if they do would require clear-cutting precious wilderness or upending people’s private property, there’s a trade-off required as to whether further exploration will yield desirable, or even worthwhile, results.
But that's not for me to decide, unfortunately.
Either way, let’s commit to using less of the stuff while we’re still here and can do something about it.
How? Throughout the week, I’ll be sharing baby steps you can follow to cut down your nat-gas usage AND watch your heating bill drop. Ready? Go!
Make a fresh start today by installing a clean filter in your furnace.
A clean furnace filter heats your home efficiently by keeping your furnace’s coils clean. When they’re clean, they can transfer heat to where it’s supposed to go, thus keeping you warm.
Unfortunately, many of us tend to forget this important step when the first frost of the year hits and we suddenly find our teeth chattering in our homes.
We automatically kick the furnace on, oftentimes telling ourselves we’ll get to changing the filter later. Soon enough, months go by and our furnaces are working overtime, caked in dust and fuzzies.
Filters clean particles out of the air, which is essential if you suffer from asthma, or if you have a baby or vulnerable senior citizen in your home. But it’s important anyway, no matter who you are, to breathe clean air. Filters tend to get even dirtier more quickly if you have fur-babies, if you smoke, or if you burn lots of candles or incense.
Filters are affordable: simple one-inch jobs are, like, a dollar, though they’re not as effective as the heavier-duty, wider filters, which cost about $30 and are well worth the investment. They’re also readily available at any hardware store.
Just be sure you know what size your furnace takes before purchasing one. If the size requirement isn’t marked on your furnace itself, just pull the old filter out and look. They should all be marked.
Because my husband loves geeking out over air quality, he got us enrolled in a long-term air-monitoring pilot program last year with a group called ROCIS, a Pittsburgh-based organization that works to reduce the impact of exterior environmental pollution in indoor spaces.
They, in conjunction with the dazzling wizardry of Pittsburgh’s one and only The Energy Doctor, Rhett Major, helped us build a unique Frankenstein furnace, which maximizes efficiency, ups our clean-air quotient, and brings our monthly heating bill down considerably.
If you’re interested in the program or in learning more about the importance of furnace filtration, shoot me an email. I’ll send you a Powerpoint with more details. And I'll take this opportunity to say everything kind that I can about Rhett Major. He's a gem of a human and an incredibly knowledgeable Energy Doctor. I can't recommend him highly enough!
Alright, friends. Go install that new filter. And stay tuned for more tips later this week on how you can cut down your nat-gas consumption.
Good luck and stay warm!
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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